China has shared a new image of the mystery substance on the lunar surface which has puzzled the scientific community for several weeks.
To the untrained eye, it appears like just another photo of dirt, but with each new image, the potential for correctly identifying where the substance came from, and what it really is, grows.
China’s lunar rover Yutu-2 touched down on the dark side of the moon on January 2. Months later, it stumbled upon the strange substance during its second pass by the seven-foot-wide (two-meter) crater.
With this latest photo, the current consensus remains the same: that the strange substance is a kind of dark glass which formed as the result of a meteorite impact. The blast likely pressurized and superheated minerals on the lunar surface into a material similar to what the Apollo 17 astronauts discovered.
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“I think the most reliable information here is that the material is relatively dark,” Dan Moriarty, NASA Postdoctoral Program fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center told Space.com.
“It appears to have brighter material embedded within the larger, darker regions, although there is a chance that is light glinting off a smooth surface.”
The lander is just about to wake up from a planned two-week nap, during the lunar night, so the next trip to the dark crater which houses the strange, glassy goo might yield more answers – or potentially pose more questions.
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